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The Federal Trade Commission accused wireless carrier T-Mobile of adding bogus charges totaling “hundreds of millions of dollars” on customers’ accounts without their consent.

At least as far back as 2009 until at least December 2013, the carrier placed unauthorized charges for third-party services on customers’ mobile phone bills, a practice called “cramming,” the agency alleges in a suit filed today in U.S. District Court. The FTC says T-Mobile also made it difficult for its customers to detect the charges.

The FTC’s case against T-Mobile would likely be the largest “cramming” case brought by federal authorities. This is the first “cramming” action that the FTC has brought against a phone provider, but the agency has previously taken action against 30 companies for the practice, said Jessica Rich, the FTC’s director of consumer protection.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere called the FTC’s complaint “unfounded and without merit. In fact, T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want.”

 

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